This Bill Gertz report in the Washington Times claims something important: "China is building up military forces and setting up bases along sea lanes from the Middle East to project its power overseas and protect its oil shipments, according to a previously undisclosed internal report prepared for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
’China is building strategic relationships along the sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea in ways that suggest defensive and offensive positioning to protect China’s energy interests, but also to serve broad security objectives,’ said the report sponsored by the director, Net Assessment, who heads Mr. Rumsfeld’s office on future-oriented strategies."
"The internal report stated that China is adopting a ’string of pearls’ strategy of bases and diplomatic ties stretching from the Middle East to southern China that includes a new naval base under construction at the Pakistani port of Gwadar.
Beijing already has set up electronic eavesdropping posts at Gwadar in the country’s southwest corner, the part nearest the Persian Gulf. The post is monitoring ship traffic through the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian Sea, the report said."
Note also the Chinese interest in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand. Read the whole thing.